“toward reward” response – we feel good, we
are open to new friendships and new learning,
we have energy, we feel up to anything.
What can you do to support your brain’s crav-
ing for the five elements of SCARF
When someone undermines your
status, try to notice it, understand why you
are reacting and know that the only person
whose admiration or approval you really
need is yours. (On the other hand, be aware
that others also want their status appreciated.
Don’t talk down to anyone – remember that
when you get home for the holidays after a
year of intense personal growth!)
Planning ahead can be of great
help in this respect. If you have to go to a
new place, get hold of a map beforehand.
Plan your time and your money.
Accept that you always have a
choice in life. You are not a victim. You are
a strong, capable person who has already
achieved an enormous amount. Do not wait
for others to tell you what to do or how to do
it, but step out and make a start.
We all want to feel part of a
group. Be open to new contacts, but don’t ex-
pect to make friends immediately. Be patient.
It will happen. Many life-long friendships are
forged at university. If the university/your
bursary scheme offers a peer mentorship
programme, embrace it fully.
When you feel you have been treated
unfairly, think about it really hard: was the
other person unfair, or did you perhaps fall
short? Were the terms and expectations
spelt out, or could it have been a misunder-
Life is not always fair.
Other people can be
even less so. Sometimes
you just have to accept
that. Never use this as
an excuse for not doing
all that YOU can!
These valuable insights from brain science
explain why the SCARF
emotions are so in-
tense. These are life and death emotions. Many
students pack up and go home because of them.
They would probably have stayed if they had
known that our human brains have the capac-
ity to understand why we feel the way we feel
and to overrule the strong emotions by labelling
them and normalising them.